It’s hard to believe Windows 10 will have been out for a year on July 29th. Windows 10 has made a splash and moved Microsoft into a more positive light after the debacle of Windows 8.
Microsoft is releasing a Windows 10 anniversary update on August 2, 2016, to consumers and enterprise versions of the OS. Expect new features, tweaks to old ones, and a few surprises to boot.
Let’s get a preview of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and what you can expect in one of the biggest updates to the OS to date.
7 Big Things to Expect from the Windows 10 Anniversary Update
1) Windows Ink
Microsoft is introducing Windows Ink, allowing you to use your pen, fingertip, or a combination of the two to draw and write in Office apps, Sticky Notes, and other compatible apps and programs.
One of the coolest features of Windows Ink is that if picks up that you’re trying to draw a chart or graph, it can convert it into the real thing. Windows Ink stays active when your device is locked; you can even jot down notes even without login to your PC.
2) Cortana Works Before You Login
Cortana will now work before you login to your PC. So, if you step up to your computer and need to take a note, play music, or set a reminder, you can Cortana to do that for you before you get the chance to login with a password, fingerprint, or other biometrics.
3) The Connect App Puts Windows On All Your Devices
With Windows Phone going down the drain, Windows 10 has to find a way to compete with the integration Apple and the iPhone have with the Mac OS. When using an Android phone with the Connect app, you’ll be able to get Android and iOS notifications on your Windows 10 PC, too.
All your files, Office documents, notes, and music will be accessible across devices through the Connect app when connected to a Windows 10 account and computer. This’ll be an extension of the Windows Continuum concept.
4) Windows Hello Get Better
Windows Hello currently works with biometrics, such as your facial structure or fingerprint, to login you in more securely. With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, you’ll find that Windows Hello now works with compatible phones, similar to Samsung Flow and the Tab Pro S.
You’ll be able to tab your Windows Hello-compatible phone to login you in instantly. It’ll also open up a world of paired apps, such as Microsoft Edge for a seamless transition from phone to PC.
5) Xbox Play Anywhere
Windows 10 will kick off DirectX 12 gaming and Xbox Live features that change the way PC players game forever with Xbox Play Anywhere. The crossover feature between Xbox One and Windows 10 games will finally be live, allowing gamers to play on either PC or console for maximum results.
Microsoft Studios will be releasing more titles in the future, including the latest edition of Forza Motorsport which will be free for all Windows 10 users.
6) Virtual Desktop Pins
Virtual desktop pinning is coming to Windows 10, which will allow you to pin open apps to all your virtual desktops. This allows you to quickly gain access to open windows no matter what desktop you’re using for work or play.
7) Bash Shell Functionality
Surprising everyone in the Windows 10 Anniversary update is the addition of the Bash shell command to the OS. No doubt pushed thanks to Satya Nadella’s development background and Microsoft’s partnership with Canonical, users will now be able to use what’s called the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL.)
This isn’t an emulator of Linux, like many have assumed; instead, you’ll open the Command Prompt, type in “Bash,” and be able to run Ubuntu natively. Pretty amazing, we’d say.
Other Things to Expect from the Windows 10 Anniversary Update
There are a lot of miscellaneous tweaks, updates, and additions coming to Windows 10 with the anniversary update. Let’s look at some of those smaller changes, which we’ll go into more detail once the update is live.
Start Menu Tweaks
The Start Menu, much to everyone’s displeasure, is going through some growing pains with this update. The All Apps button is gone and new apps and programs will simply populate the left side of the Start Menu. Other subtle tweaks will make the Start Menu more responsive.
Taskbar and Action Center Improvements
The Taskbar is getting prettier right-click menus, more personalization options, and now the clock and calendar are combined into one mega widget when opened. The Action Center now groups all notifications by app versus chronologically, making it easier to manage them.
These groups will also be sorted by priority and you’ll be able to fully customize how your notifications display through the Action Center with new setting options.
Microsoft Edge Extensions
Extensions for the Microsoft Edge browser will finally be live, allowing users to customize options like Chrome and Firefox. Evernote, AdBlock, and a few other high-profile extensions will go live right away with others rolling out over time.
Windows Defender Updates
Windows Defender, which made significant improvements with the release of Windows 10, will see even more growth in the anniversary update. Windows Defender can now still work with third party anti-virus running in a limited capacity, giving you an additional tool to combat and ward off potentially harmful viruses and malware on your PC.
The Dark Theme Returns to Windows
One of the biggest complaints from Windows users, however small, is the lack of a dark theme since Windows 8’s release. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is introducing a dark theme for users who love the contrast.
You’d be able to locate it at Settings > Personalization > Colors.
New Emojis Jump On Craze
A variety of new emojis are coming to use in Windows 10 with the update, jumping on the craze of new emojis added to mobile devices and instant messaging services almost daily.
There are a variety of smaller improvements and additions coming to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, including to Active Hours functionality, performance improvements, and more.
We’ll be covering all the changes in more detail once the Windows 10 Anniversary Update rolls out, so look for more from TechNorms in August on this major update to Microsoft’s flagship.